Introducing Snapgraphs or Photoshots

A few days back, through the marvel of Zoom technology, I delivered a germane keynote to the Digital Media Licensing Agency (DMLA)-a unique community of visual media licensing professionals.

I love this group. Their members are the movers and shakers in media creation and licensing today.

My topic, gratefully and appropriately, was “The Mobile Revolution” (I also participated in a panel discussion about “Vertical Content”). I was to speak on, from my decade-long, 1 million iPhone photo journey, how this lowly, beloved phone-camera device, not only changed my career but my life too.

It changed my aesthetics as well.

One of my talking points, in the keynote, was how smartphone photographers and filmmakers are, today, creating a new category of media (content), that I affectionately referred to as “artful moments”-the magical middle ground between photographic “art” and everyday “moments”.

Growing up, bless her sweetheart, my mother took all the family photos, rather quickly, and mostly, with no artistic or journalistic intent. They were snapshots, meant for family albums and bragging rights, among friends and relatives. These photos taken were never meant to celebrate art. Like so many other families of the time, these snapshots were documentarian, firsthand, personal, glimpses of our family life, events, experiences. Period.

As I became a photographer and learned the craft of picture taking and making, I always managed to, fondly and reverently, look back, celebrate and honor this snapshot aesthetic. But, like many of my photography peers and colleagues, of the same ilk and age, we didn’t stop there but turned our snapshots into photographs.

Snapshots, generally speaking, tend to capture the moments and memories of life, on the go, as they happen. Photographs, in stark contrast, and for the most part, are deliberate, intentional, and focus more on the creation of art.

Here is the coolest thing about smartphone photography.  It has created, almost overnight, a middle ground for photography aesthetics. This new aesthetic is neither exclusively “moments” or exclusively “art”-it occupies the space in between, “artful moments”

It’s a blend of snapshot and photograph-something we could rightly call “Snapgraph” or “Photoshots”.

In either case, it represents both ends of the spectrum-moments and memories of life, done in an artful manner. Not one or the other but, both, combined, often in equal measure.

As you look at the mobile landscape photography of today, you are clearly and cleverly, seeing the photographic content realism, authenticity, genuineness, originality, believability, credibility, the veracity of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tok Tok, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, WhatsApp, along with the more refined and polished style of traditional photography and photographic aesthetics.

These is indeed the magical middle-artful moments, snapgraphs, photoshots.

And it’s growing at a frenzied pace

This is exactly what makes the new mobile aesthetic so powerful, compelling, convincing, real, popular-everyday snapshots of life but with photographic flair, style, sparkle.

It’s, photographically speaking, the tale of two cities.



Jack Hollingsworth